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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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MDHHS emphasizes importance of testing as new COVID-19 variant cases identified

Covid testing
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 17:26:40-05

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is emphasizing the importance of COVID-19 testing with additional cases of the variant B.1.1.7 detected in a Wayne County resident and among people associated with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The state identified a variant case Monday in a man living in Wayne County through a test, a news release said.

Bureau of Laboratories tests also identified the variant in two women associated with U-M, which previously had three B.1.1.7 cases identified.

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B.1.1.7 spreads more easily between people but there hasn’t been any indication that it affects clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the COVID-19 virus that has been circulating across the U.S. for months.

“The new variant is present in Michigan and we are at risk of seeing more spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “Make sure you are following all quarantine and isolation guidance. And do your part to prevent the spread of this virus by continuing to wear your mask, avoid gatherings, socially distance and washing your hands.”

Because the new variant spreads more easily, it could increase the number of people who need to be hospitalized or who lose their lives to COVID-19 should the new variant begin circulating widely in Michigan.

It’s possible that there are more B.1.1.7 cases in Michigan that haven’t been identified yet.

Local health departments are working closely with the University of Michigan on strategies to prevent the spread of the virus.

SEE MORE: Coronavirus in Mid Michigan